An IN THE AIR Excerpt: “The Fictionals” by Shaun Avery

Not to do so something silly, you understand—I was still mostly loving life, saw no reason to end it. No, just to be wild and reckless and crazy and shave my face in a jacuzzi, just because it was something I’d never done before.

But it wasn’t so wise a move, as I got too caught up in the moment of enjoying this new sensation, and that was when I slipped with the razor, slid too fast across the underside of my chin, made a relatively thin but painful cut that instantly leaked blood into the water.

Shit.” All the night’s frustration bubbling out of me in just that one word. “I’ve got a photoshoot tomorrow.”

But such concerns were suddenly shunted from my mind. Because the blood drops were not sinking to the bottom of the jacuzzi like I’d expected. No, they were drifting across the surface of the water, away from me as if they had a will of their own…then, they stopped.

I blinked a couple of times. “What the hell?”

But no answer came, just more blood, then the drops were moving, drawing together as if magnetised, and they grew, rising from the water, spouting limbs and growing skin and hair and finally becoming:

Me.

He looked at me.

“Don’t bother,”he said.

“I…don’t bother what?”

He rolled his eyes, something I was sure I never did.

“Don’t bother saying what are you or how is this happening or something like that.”He shook his head, distaste twisting up his—my—face. “That’s such a cliché.”

“Well,”I said, not wanting to admit that those two questions had been the exact things I was going to say.

But he didn’t give me a chance to say anything, as he pulled himself out of the jacuzzi.

“Hey, wait.”I tried to take charge of the situation. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“Out.”He stood staring at me, and maybe it was all in my head, but I was sure that his penis was bigger than mine. “To get myself famous.”

“Like shit you are.”I scrambled out after him, not willing to let this version of me, whatever it was and however it had come into being, go and ruin my career with his odd existence. “Get back here.”

But he was not listening.

Instead, he ran for the front door, trailing wet footsteps all the way, and when he opened it up, he—

Exploded.

There’s really no other word for it.

As soon as he made contact with the air outside, his body blew apart, spraying the walls with his blood, though I was far away enough not to get any on me.

I crept to the door, opened it slowly, looked around. But there was no one out on the streets, no witnesses to the madness that had just occurred.

Except me.

And what had just occurred, anyway?

I didn’t know. But as I closed the front door and sank down with my back against it, I thought about the life that I’d led lately, the sudden jump from nobody to sort-of-singer to tabloid media personality. Could it be I’d lost my mind in the middle of all that stuff? Was I even still here, in my big house with the jacuzzi in it? Or was I in a psycho ward somewhere, imagining the whole of this?

I wasn’t sure. But something told me I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight.

Luckily, Glen had a guy for that, one he’d switched me on to in the early days of our working relationship, back when I got that stage fright I mentioned earlier.

I found my phone and rang him and got this guy—Norman, which is such a ridiculous fucking name for a drug dealer that I was always sure it had to be fake—to meet me. Away from the house, of course, as I could do without him seeing all the blood on my walls. He got there fast, thankfully, and handed me a bottle of pills whose name I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone write, with the stark warning to, “only take one per night.”

Per. He used the word “per,”as well as being called Norman. Drug dealers are a whole lot different in the world of the famous.

Still, the drug worked. I took it that night and was out as soon as I got into bed. Only to wake up the next morning to find two replicas of my own face staring down at me.

 

 

48416177_2008938705839504_8094266344947580928_nShaun Avery writes crime and horror fiction in a number of different mediums.  He also has a special fondness for stories that cross horror with satire, a sub-genre of which his featured story “The Fictionals” is a personal favourite so far. 

 

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